Stereotypical images of strong men may be at odds with the private stories of males that are sex trafficked. We often tend to think that a man should be able to prevent himself from being beaten and raped but men are also affected by the grim underworld of sexual exploitation. Though it is said by the ILO that women make 98% of sex trafficking victims, given that many trafficked persons are never identified or assisted, these numbers must be understood as only a portion of those who face trafficking situations. Men could appear to be even less identifiable then women due to this added stigma which prevents them from coming forward and seeking assistance. Unfortunately they also have another weighty hurdle to clear: a general lack of awareness and resources for their reintegration.
There have been in the past a handful of mediated coverage related to the sex trafficking of men. Amongst these, popular ones include The New York Times narrating in early September 2010 how the Spanish police ‘busted’ a sex trafficking ring of between 60 and 80 Brazilian men who were mostly in their early twenties. They were apparently given Viagra, cocaine and other stimulants in order to be available for sex acts 24 hours a day. Likewise in April 2010, News Change reported of another incident involving two young African men (countries not specified) trafficked to Scotland where one was forced to take part in pornography while the other was sold for sex. More recently, there has been growing mediated exposure of an alarming sex trafficking scheme involving bisexual and gay male college students from Kenya deceived into heading to the Middle East with the promise of jobs as flights attendants and administrative assistants. As of this last December 2011, magazine Identity argues that due to Kenya’s soaring unemployment rate, the men are easily fooled into this trap.
These stories are not all recent but STOP THE TRAFFIK believes in bringing to light this dark and underground issue to general community awareness. We believe sex trafficking is an issue that harms both sexes, it’s not simply a women’s issue: it’s everyone’s. And everyone has a reason to be involved in rebelling against it. Men aren’t just evil pimps, journalist saviors, or simple victims. Both males and females who are sex trafficked have a voice and each voice is a powerful rival to today’s modern day slavery.